Apple introduces iBooks 2, textbooks at $14.99 or less

By Shawn Knight
Jan 19, 2012
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  1. Apple has announced their reentry into the education market by revealing iBooks 2 at a media event at the Guggenheim museum in New York City. Fueled by claims that there…

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  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,411   +281

    That price is pretty amazing. Although I wonder how many college level texts there will be.. It seems to me that publishers that charge $150+ for a book aren't going to be too willing to take a tenth of that, especially when many of those books are critical to passing the class.
  3. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,283   +229

    I was wondering the same thing, SNGX... But not necessarily from the publisher standpoint, seems like the student bookstores might stand to lose substantially more. I can't even count how many $100+ books I had to purchase in college, but then sold back for a fraction of the original price. The store then turned around and sold it back to the next sucker... err, student... at about 80% of the new price. Pretty thriving business model that would get nuked by e-textbooks.

    I also have to wonder... How much of the ridiculous price for textbooks is in the printing & material costs? The books are often built very sturdy, with thicker-than-average bindings, covers, and heavier paper weight (to facilitate reuse and long life as reference). Add to that the fact that print runs for each title can be pretty small, and constant revisions in some disciplines mean regularly outdated copies have to be dealt with. I know the writers don't make a ton on the textbooks, I had several professors who wrote definitive texts that were used nation- (and world-) wide at the time, but they certainly weren't rolling in the dough...
  4. This looks like a great option for homeschoolers. We homeschool our 5 children, and homeschool curriculum is very expensive.
    I will be curious to see what curriculums are available.
  5. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 4,262   +41

    Saw this one coming a mile away, didn't you?
  6. Justgivemeaname

    Justgivemeaname Newcomer, in training Posts: 37

    I don't know about you, but none of my textbooks have been sturdy. Half of them were just pages in plastic that you had to put in a 3-ring binder to avoid losing them and even those cost me $100+. The rest of the textbooks i needed were either not hardcover or the cover and binding were so thin and fragile you had to be careful to avoid ripping anything by just moving it across a table. As for constant revisions and outdated copies, I'm a computer networking major and the newest edition of the textbook we have for this semester was written when XP was the newest OS.
  7. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,283   +229

    The one detail not listed in this article (found it reported elsewhere) is that Apple is letting the author set the price for their iBook... But ONLY if they sign exclusively to Apple. If you want to have your e-textbook available anywhere else, you have to go find an actual publisher and go through them into the iBook system. Seems a little heavy-handed, but might have been a "deal with the devil" that Apple had to agree to in order to get big publishers on-board.

    Seems like a serious little ***** in the armor that Amazon (or Google) could exploit to help bloom a non-Apple textbook library system.
  8. I'm no expert as I am not a textbook author. But in summoning some common sense, I imagine that that most of these textbooks take an enormous amount of time (PhD time in most cases) to put together. Think of all of the practice problems designed and put together for math textbooks. Think of all of the content printed in medical texts.

    I don't think that college level textbook authors are going to produce upper level material for $14.99 per textbook. The $14.99 price mark is most likely the bare minimum price possible through the program and will likely only apply to the elementary level. If the iBooks program is to be successful, I imagine that we will likely be seeing prices of $75+ (my microbiology book cost $200 this semester) for upper level textbooks.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,411   +281

    My experiences are very similar to yours. Some students where I went to school set up a forum online for selling books between students rather than going through the university bookstore or one of the other bookstores in town. The price gouging on texts by bookstores is insane, so this will probably run a few out of business, but I don't feel too bad for them because they screwed students for decades.

    I think they will have to charge more than $15 for texts, but I don't think I'd pay more than 1/3 the price of a hardcover for a digital copy, there is still something to be said for having a real book.

    One of my professors was the author of Petroleum Geology, we used it in his class, I don't know how widely it is used in petroleum geology courses nationally or globally, but he did say to our class he thought it was insane how expensive the book was and how little of that money he received. Found out a few years later he just started giving people a pdf of the book and telling them not to buy the real one because he thought it was too expensive.
  10. If only I could get these books in Canada :(


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